ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – With plans to seat candidates 12 feet apart and new social distancing guidelines in place, the nation’s vice-presidential candidates are set to square off with the coronavirus pandemic sure to take the spotlight during the debate. As candidates prepare to outline their pandemic response plans, Florida reported 2,582 new cases Wednesday.
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence’s showdown comes after a COVID-19 outbreak at the White House. President Donald Trump’s diagnosis leaves the future of presidential debates unclear, but his latest response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leaves little possibility for another round of coronavirus stimulus checks.
Though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has moved forward with opening the state’s economy and the last two counties hardest hit by the pandemic are giving the option for students to return to in-person learning, Florida continues to see thousands of new cases of the virus a day. The Florida Department of Health reported Wednesday 722,707 people have tested positive for COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in March.
The Villages has garnered national attention as an area of the nation that’s seeing new cases increasing quickly, according to reporting by the New York Times. A week ago, the area was reporting 64 cases and they’ve since bumped up to at least 230 new infections.
On Wednesday, the FDOH reported 139 people have recently died from COVID-19. So far, 15,084 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 180 non-resident deaths in Florida.
State health officials have always maintained that virus fatalities are often delayed in being reported to the FDOH but some deaths are not reported for a month or more.
Though case counts have been on the decline, it is important to gauge how many people have been hospitalized due to the virus to see how the illness is impacting communities.
The state reported 255 new hospitalizations on Wednesday, meaning the state has seen a total of 45,259 patients admitted into a hospital since March in relation to COVID-19.
Currently, there are 2,124 people hospitalized in Florida with the virus, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
Florida’s rate for those who tested positive for the first time compared to the overall tests reported in one day held steady to trends the state has been seeing on Wednesday. The FDOH reported the state’s daily positivity rate was 4.14%.
Public health officials say they are keeping a close eye on the state’s trend in the rate of people testing positive for the respiratory illness as flu season nears. Doctors warn though the symptoms could be similar, to keep the positivity rate down and keep from spreading COVID-19 people should learn the distinctions between coronavirus and the flu.
Central Florida County-By-County Breakdown:
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Here are four things to know about the coronavirus pandemic for Wednesday, Oct. 7.
- President halts stimulus talks, stocks go down: World shares were mostly lower on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a stop to talks on another round of aid for the economy. Hours after his tweets about ending the stimulus talks, Trump appeared to edge back a bit, calling on Congress to send him a “Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200)." Trump’s announcement via Twitter that he was suspending the talks until after the election came after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged Congress to come through with more aid, saying that too little support “would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship.” Get more details on how the market responded.
- Hundreds of travel industry employees in Lake Buena Vista area laid off: More than 500 employees who worked for a company that provided travel-related services at Disney hotels have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Baggage Airline Guest Services notified the mayor and other local officials late last month that 560 employees have been laid off as Central Florida sees a decrease in tourists visiting the area. These layoffs come after Disney announced it was laying off thousands of its employees.
- Melbourne High football team in quarantine: Brevard Public Schools officials said after receiving a report that a person affiliated with the team tested positive for COVID-19, the Melbourne High School team will be in quarantine for 14 days. The team will forfeit their next two games and plan to resume play Oct. 23. Read more on how the district made its decision here.
- Large-scale rapid coronavirus testing has arrived in Florida: Florida has now begun receiving 400,000 rapid coronavirus testing kits a week from the federal government. On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said these 15-minute tests will first go to assisted living centers, schools and state-run testing sites. Click here to see where you can get one.